SEATTLE — The Republic of Ghana is home to 27 million citizens along the western coast of Africa. Economically, Ghana is growing. Politically, the nation is working to smoothly navigate the democratic process. And geographically, the region boasts beautiful beaches and natural features like waterfalls, caves and mountains. But its location is also subject to direct impacts from climate change, and a rising economy and democracy mean there is work to be done to ensure equal opportunities for all citizens. Here are five development projects in Ghana happening right now and addressing multiple facets of this growing nation.
Adaptation Fund Project
Ghana’s local economies, especially in the northern region, depend largely on agriculture and forestry. When climate variability leads to increasingly erratic rainfall patterns and extremes of drought and flooding, water resources and livelihoods become more unpredictable.
Enter the United Nations Development Programme and their initiative called Increased Resilience to Climate Change in Northern Ghana through the Management of Water Resources and Diversification of Livelihoods, also known as the Adaptation Fund Project. The project aims for three outcomes: improved management of water resources in the midst of climate-induced surface and groundwater impacts, training for communities toward improved resilience to climate-induced impacts and diversifying livelihoods so that communities can be less dependent on rain-fed systems. The Adaptation Fund Project looks to benefit over eight million Ghanaians living along the Volta River Basin.
Pineapples Create Jobs, Partnerships
In January 2017, a Ghanaian small business began the distribution of Ashanti pineapples to Whole Foods Market stores in the southeastern U.S. Through a partnership with the African Diaspora Marketplace (a USAID program) and Western Union (aiding in export), Sardis Enterprises LTD received the opportunity to harvest and send the pineapples overseas. Sardis is poised to expand its distribution to all U.S. regions, hugely benefitting the organic cooperatives and farms that sell to them.
Sustainable Rural Water and Sanitation Project
The Sustainable Rural Water and Sanitation Project is directed toward rural and small-town communities in six regions of Ghana. With financing from the World Bank, the project aims to expand access to sustainable water and ensure its sanitation through three main components. First, the project supports access through newly constructed water supplies, as well as the rehabilitation of existing onsite and piped supplies. Second, the plan includes the promotion of safe sanitation and hygiene practices in alignment with the Millennium Development Goals. Finally, the project will address practical applications, including training, technical assistance, project management and capacity building, which will all be necessary for maintaining the new and refreshed facilities and designs.
U.S. Ambassador Promotes the Fun of Reading
In collaboration with the USAID Partnership for Education and Ghana’s Ministry of Education, U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Robert P. Jackson hopes to help improve reading skills in early primary school grades. The project looks to engage families, communities and institutions to promote reading for fun. The four-year initiative includes national media campaigns to affirm the value of reading, and will provide grants to 800 communities to encourage young children to read in all aspects of their community life. Jackson’s work to implement a love for reading among the nation’s children is one of several valuable development projects in Ghana to improve and enhance education.
Continuing the beneficial collaborative aspect of development projects in Ghana, USAID worked with JSI, Inc. and multiple other partners to address health issues in Ghana, including a vitamin A deficiency. To help counter the condition (that can lead to a compromised immune system and even blindness), the sweet potato was introduced to northern Ghana for the first time. The bright orange vegetable was hit among children in the form of sweet potato fries, and the villagers now refer to it as “alafie wuljo” or “healthy potato.” The project encourages farmers to plant nutritious crops to combat malnutrition in the region, as well as implement improved farming techniques to advance the community’s economy.
Improvements to education, business, agriculture and infrastructure through development projects in Ghana are accelerating. Continued growth through projects and contributions by government, aid agencies and private industry create equal opportunities. Equal opportunities create stable, thriving communities.
– Jaymie Greenway